Ice cream, ices and other frosty treats were sold in cities, amusement parks, boardwalks and and resort areas in the during WWI by a number of portable vehicles. These ranged from hand-pushed carts to goat-pulled mini-wagons to bicycle-propelled carts to horsedrawn/electric trucks. Folks who make a living selling ice treats from carts were known as “hokey pokey” men. How long before these treats would melt? That would be determined by the quality of the cart and the temperature of the day. The history of the popsicle is a fascnating topic unto itself. Like the history of many popular frozen treats, it is full of conflicting claims and culinary folklore. While Frank Epperson is generally credited for “inventing” the popsicle (first called the Epsicle, after himself), there is ample evidence that frozen fruit treats and juice bars existed in the late 19th century. These treats were often hawked by people of Italian descent, who were versed in the fine art of granita. Even the Epperson story has many “versions.” The Epperson story sticks not because he was the first, but because he was the first to mass market this product.
About Frank Epperson’s popsicle
“The third member of the great novelty trimuvirate of the 1920s was born on a cold eureka-shouting morning in New Jersey in 1923. The inventor was Frank Epperson, who made lemonade from a specially prepared powder that he sold at an Oakland, California, amusement park. While visiting friends in New Jersey, he prepared a batch of special lemonade and inadvertantly left a glass of it on a windowsill with a spoon in it. The temperature went down below zero during the night and in the morning Epperson saw the glass. He picked it up by the spoon handle and ran hot water over the glass freeing the frozen mass. In his hand was the first Epsicle, later to be known as the Popsicle. Epperson saw immediately the potential of what he held in his hand and applied for a patent, which was granted in 1924. He was fortunate, because research conducted by The Ice Cream Review in 1925 revealed that a major ice cream company was experimenting with “frozen suckers” at the time of the windowsill incident, and as far back as 1872 two men doing business as Ross and Robbins sold a frozen-fruit confection on a stick, which they called the Hokey-Pokey.”
—Great American Ice Cream Book, Paul Dickson [Atheneum:New York] 1972 (p. 83)
“In 1905 an eleven-year-old boy named Frank Epperson, of Oakland, California, accientally left a mixing stick in a glass of juice on a windowsill while visiting friends in New Jersey. The juice froze with the stick in it, enabling the ice to be held in the hand and licked.In 1922 Epperson introduced this new “icelollipop” at a fireman’s ball in Oakland, California, and called it an “Epsicle,” then later “Popsicle.” (Frozen “juice bars” had been known in the nineteenth century, including one called the “Hokey Pokey,” but none was marketed well until the Popsicle in 1923.)”
—Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman] 1999 (p. 165-6)
For more interesting facts about where many foods came from, check out this site… Food Timline .
Any special summer treats that take you back to your childhood?? Share them in the comments!!